Dec 6, 2010

HDMI dock for the Galaxy Tab

Galaxy Tab HDMI docking station
I was in the store the other day and noticed that the HDMI dock had arrived. We got to test it on there TV's to see how they worked. Interesting results to say the least.

The HDMI dock requires power to be used. This is most likely due the the fact that the Galaxy Tab doesn't actually have an HDMI signal, but rather has native Displayport, requiring active converting to get the signal to the TV.

After connecting the dock to an LG TV and inserting the Tab, the TV seemed to understand something was connected, but couldn't seem to distinguish a signal. Trying on a Panasonic TV instead resulted in the screen of the Tab displaying nicely on the TV in portrait mode. We had to remove and reinsert the Tab in order for video to display properly (using the full real estate of the TV), but then worked flawlessly. I was only running a standard Xvid, so the picture had some flaw, but was completely acceptable (I didn't have any 720p or 1080p material to test at the time).

Interestingly enough, the video played in portrait mode, which the video players controls clearly visible, which doesn't happen normally. When playing a video using the standard video player, the video is forced to landscape mode regardless of how you hold the Tab. When laying the Tab with dock on its side, it atually switched to landscape mode, allowing the full use of the TV.

The obvious question to ask at this point, is why not just have a landscape dock for the Tab. This would seem a more natural thing to do given that TV's aren't standing on edge, but maybe this will be offered at a later date.

The dock doesn't come with a charger or cable, so users will have to use the ones supplied with the tablet. I have a Zagg InvisiShield with full-body protectiong, so docking the Tab takes two hands for me. Without it, it seems like the Tab would fall easily into place. I will probably be removing the lower edges of the Zagg to see if this simplifies docking for me when I buy the dock.

(For the record, I didn't purchase it solely because they had no HDMI-to-miniHDMI converters or 3m cables in stock, i.e. I wouldn't be able to use it at home)

So to round things off, the dock doesn't occupy too much space, eases charging while keeping the Tab visible, and seems to otherwise function as expected. I will definitely be getting one as soon as I can connect it to my television.

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